The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Imagine living in a world where you constantly hear the moans of zombies, the Unconsecrated, who are constantly scratching at the walls and gates that surround and protect the village where you live. A world where you've been told since you were born that you are the last humans alive and that it's every woman's duty to marry and have children. A world where you live in constant fear of the Unconsecrated getting through the gates and biting you, turning you into one of them. A world where you've heard stories about impossible things like the ocean and skyscrapers--of a time before "the Return" when there were no zombies and everyone was free from fear.
This is Mary's world in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. She's grown up hearing her mother's stories about the ocean and longing to see it even though most everyone laughs the impossibility of the existence of such a huge body of water. She's also not sure her village is the only one in existence, but she seems destined to marry someone she doesn't love or join the strict Sisterhood that governs the village. When the unthinkable happens, she and friends must flee for their lives, and she's determined to find the ocean and evidence of other life once and for all.
I read this book in one sitting, and it drew me in from the very beginning and held me captive until the very end. Ryan's description of the zombies was chilling, and I could hear them moaning and scratching. But this is more than a post-apocalyptic zombie story. It's a love story. Mary is betrothed to the brother of the guy she really loves, Travis, and we see their relationship develop and their struggle to be together throughout the book.
Mary is a character that I think many teen readers, especially girls, will like, but I think this is the kind of book that will appeal to boy readers as well. Highly recommended.
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385736819
- ISBN-13: 978-0385736817